Denmark refuses Russia access to Nord Stream sabotage probe

Denmark says it will not give Russia permission to participate in investigations into the explosions at the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines.

Denmark refuses Russia access to Nord Stream sabotage probe
Danish foreign minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has said Denmark will not allow Russia to take part in its investigation into the Nord Stream pipeline explosions. Photo: Emil Nicolai Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish position was confirmed by Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen at a press briefing on Thursday.

“Denmark, Sweden and Germany all have rule of law and one can have confidence in our investigations,” Rasmussen said.

The three countries have, according to Rasmussen, each initiated investigations into the explosions at the Nord Stream pipelines on September 26th last year.

Russian president Vladimir Putin earlier this week said he wanted Denmark to allow Russia to take part in investigations.

Denmark has the right to control who participates in the investigations into the explosion that took place within the Danish economic zone. Two of the four leakages were in the Danish zone, and two in the Swedish.

Danish authorities were on Tuesday advised by Russian company Gazprom that an object had been detected close to the site of the Nord Stream 2 explosions.

“The owners of the Nord Stream pipeline are able to inspect the pipelines. It is in this context that an object was observed,” Rasmussun said.

“We have told the Russians that we will investigate this thoroughly. And when we have done that, we will announce the results of that investigation,” he said.

Four leaks emerged on the two Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm at the end of September, with seismic institutes reporting that they had recorded two underwater explosions prior to the leaks appearing.

While the leaks were in international waters, two of them were in the Danish exclusive economic zone and two in the Swedish one.

Investigations later showed the pipelines were ruptured by underwater explosives, but it remains uncertain who was behind the explosions.

The incident took place seven months after Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

Last week, Germany’s Die Zeit newspaper reported that German investigators suspect that the yacht Andromeda, which was owned by a Ukrainian, was used to plant the explosives on the pipeline. 

READ ALSO: Six months on, what do we know about the Nord Stream blasts?

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Denmark invites Nord Stream owner to recover mystery object

Denmark has invited the Russian-controlled operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to help recover a mystery object that was spotted near the pipeline, six months after sections were sabotaged.

Denmark invites Nord Stream owner to recover mystery object

German, Swedish and Danish authorities are investigating the undersea explosions that sparked four leaks on the two Nord Stream pipelines in the
Baltic Sea in September, seven months after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed experts believe that it could be a signal antenna to activate an explosive in that part of the pipeline.

The Danish energy agency released a photo late Thursday of the cylindrical object standing near the Nord Stream 2 pipeline at the bottom of the sea.

The agency said it is “possible” that the object is a maritime smoke buoy, 40 centimetres tall and 10 cm wide, and that it “does not pose an immediate safety risk”.

“With a view to further clarifying the nature of the object, Danish authorities have decided to salvage the object with assistance from the Danish
Defence,” it said in a statement.

The agency added that it was still waiting for a response from the pipeline’s owner before starting the recovery operation.

Russian energy giant Gazprom holds a majority stake in the twin pipelines, with the rest owned by German, Dutch and French companies.

German prosecutors said earlier this month that, in January, investigators searched a ship suspected of having transported explosives used in the blasts.

Confirmation of the searches came after the New York Times reported that US officials had seen new intelligence indicating that a “pro-Ukrainian group”
was responsible for the sabotage.

The Ukrainian government denied involvement in the action, while the Kremlin rejected the Times report as “diversion”.